Acid sulfate soils

Project: Geochemical, mineralogical, and microbiological characterization of acid sulfate soils

Acid sulfate soils exist under farmland in the coastal areas and export large amounts of acidity and metals to watercourses. Methods to reduce this export is the focus of the project.

Facts about the project

Geochemical, mineralogical, and microbiological characterization of acid sulfate soils – towards improved water quality on coastal plains
Project manager
Professor Mats Åström
Other project members
Professor Mark Dopson, Linnaeus University
Participating organizations
Linnaeus University, County of Västerbotten, County of Österbotten (Finland), County of Norrbotten, Vocational College of Ostrobotnia Finlan, Novia University of Applied Sciences, Vasa, Finland
Formas, Geological Survey of Sweden
January 2018 – December 2022
Environmental Science, Department of Biology of Environmental Science, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

More about the project

Acid sulfate (AS) soils are widely located on many coastal plains bordering the Gulf of Bothnia and cause substantial environmental degradation. The main environmental concern of these soils is extensive leaching of acidity and metals (e.g. Al, Ni, Cd, and Mn), which results in poor water quality and associated frequent fish kills in many creeks and rivers.

The overall aim of the project is to significantly contribute to the development of cost-effective methods for the reduction of acidity and metal leaching from these soils. The specific objectives are to characterize how various treatment methods affect the geochemistry, mineralogy, and microbiology of the AS soils and thus ultimately the long-term leaching of metals and acidity from these soils. The fieldwork will be carried out in three landscapes where AS soils are widespread and of particular concern. These are Västerbotten and Norrbotten in Sweden and Österbotten in Finland. Within each of these landscapes, key organizations have set up AS soil research sites where various treatments are applied and the outflowing waters monitored.

Our input will be essential and consist of an in-depth characterization of the inorganic and organic reactions within the AS soils, which is a prerequisite for a full description and understanding of how the various applied treatments ultimately work and affect the environment and water quality.